Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's Census (data) day!

Today at 11:30am the ABS releases the first tranche of the 2011 Census's data - including the core demographics.

How is this Gov 2.0 related? There's a number of ways.

First, this is the first time the majority of Census data will be released, from day one, under a Creative Commons license as open data for reuse. This means that statisticians and interested people (like myself) will be able to download and crunch a lot of the information to find out interesting stuff.

Second, this is the first time the Census release is being announced via social media - with the @2011Census account leading the way, and a number of people already Tweeting using the #2011Census hashtag.

Third, there's a lot of data in the Census that will inform Gov 2.0 efforts. Population demographics, media usage and other data is all useful in building business cases and uncovering opportunities to use new media more effectively.

Fourth, this is the first Census in Australia to have a significant proportion of the data collected online. While the ABS did use a pilot eCensus system for last Census, this time online was a primary collection network for household data.

Finally we're likely to see some very interesting apps, infographics and maps using Census data in ways that were never before possible. These will emerge from the ABS, from other agencies and from the community and commercial sector.

To give an idea of what might come out of this, below is an interesting pre-Census infographic created by McCrindle Research to show Australia's place in the world.

Australia at 23 Million: A mid-sized country but world beating growth infographic by McCrindle Research
McCrindle Research | Know the Times

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